The goal of the Children’s Rights Alliance is to make Ireland one of the best places in the world to be a child. A country that prioritises the needs of its most vulnerable citizens will continue to do so, even during periods of economic hardship. Ireland still has a long way to go to achieve our goal.
The Alliance wants Ireland to be one of the best places in the world to be a child. However, we have a long way to go before that becomes a reality. Did you know the following statistics?
- 18.6% (205,908) of children under 18 were considered to be at risk of poverty in 2009.
- 8.7% ( 96,312) of children under 18 experienced consistent poverty in 2009, meaning they live in families that cannot afford basic necessities.
The Department of Children and Youth Affairs has just updated the state’s 1999 child protection guidelines. These are not statutory however and are, therefore, not enforceable.
- At the end of 2009, the total number of households on local authority lists nationwide was as high as 99,846, an increase of 78% in 18 months from the previous total of 56,000 households in 2008. In 2008, there were 27,704 households with children identified as being in need of social housing.
- In 2010 there were 422 Traveller families living in unauthorised halting sites. That is approximately 2,000 people living in conditions that are often unsafe and lacking in basic services.
- GDP invested in education was 4.7% in 2010; well below the OECD average of 5.7% GDP.
- An average of 12%, or 9000 students in Ireland leave school before sitting their Leaving Cert exams every year.
- Ireland fell from 5th place in the OECD PISA rankings on child literacy in 2000 to 17th place in 2009, the sharpest fall among all participating countries, suggesting one in six students has poor reading skills.
- 1 in 6 students in Ireland has poor reading skills, and up to 1 child in 3 children in disadvantaged communities leaves school with literacy problems.
- More than 23,000 children were on HSE waiting lists for speech and language therapy in 2010, with almost 4,000 of those waiting between 12 months and two years.
- In 2010, there were 155 child admissions to adult units and 274 admissions to child units.
- In Ireland, one in every six cases of child abuse is attributed to alcohol. Between 61,000 and 104,000 children aged under 15 are estimated to be living with parents who misuse alcohol.
- The average age of first alcohol use for children born in 1990 was 14 – in 1980, it was 16.
- There has been a 500% increase in obesity among Irish boys in the past four years. In 2009 alone, a quarter of all nine-year olds were overweight or obese.
- There were 155 child admissions to adult psychiatric units and 274 admissions to child and adolescent units in 2010.
Children in Care
- In April 2011 there were 2011 children in the care of the state. 5% did not have an allocated social worker.
- 23 children in State care or known to the child protection services died from March 2010 – June 2011 (this excludes deaths from natural causes). Causes of death were 9 by suicide, 4 by drug overdoses, 2 by homicide, 5 in road traffic incidents and 3 in other accidents.
- Since 2000, 509 separated children have gone missing from State care. Of these, 58 are accounted for and 451 are unaccounted for.
- In 2010, there were a total of 221 children aged 16 and 17 committed to prison, including two girls. This mean 219 boys were committed to St. Patrick’s Institution (a penal regime detention facility for 16-21 year olds).
Voice of the Child
- Children have no entitlement to be heard in their own right in court and in administrative hearings that directly affect them.